~ This post is from my daughter’s first horse show! What memories!

Yesterday was my daughter’s first horse show. She has been mad about horses since she was a baby. My father used to carry her around the farm, show her the horses, and taught her to whinny before she could talk! My husband used to put her on the saddle with him and gallop around the polo field when she was just a toddler, and she started riding ponies when she was three. At eight I enrolled her in the pony club. Now she’s twelve, and she has begged me to let her try competition.

We don’t have a farm anymore, nor anyplace (or enough money!) to keep a horse. But her pony club has a competition section, which is very inexpensive, and each month they go to a different club and compete. So, I enrolled my daughter and she has been training hard. And yesterday was the first show! It was in a farm that had been built in the middle ages as a fortified manor, so the first thing you see upon arriving is a huge tower and a moat. There is a high coach gate leading to a vast inside courtyard, with climbing roses and red vine on the stone walls.

The show was just outside the old manor in a sandy, shady ring. There were a dozen jumps, and about fifty children of all sizes, with fifty ponies and horses of various colors and sizes. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm, and they had set up a tent near the moat with a coffee and sandwich stand.

The group my daughter was in was a very eclectic one – some children were very good, others toppled off their ponies after one jump. Nobody was hurt, there were a few tears (one little girl rode into the ring, took a look at the crowd, and rode right out again) Everyone was terrific and supportive. Clapping for all contestants was a must. When a child got confused and forgot the course, there were words of encouragement and directions shouted out! The boy who won had a wonderful spotted pony and rode as if he had been a pro all his life!

My daughter’s pony, a wise, 15 yr old pumpkin orange fellow by the name of ‘Gamin’ went around in a steady canter, and only refused two jumps at the end when my daughter was too tired to hold him with her legs. She made him get over the two jumps, and he did it delicately, as if sensing her fatigue. At the end she dropped his reins, hugged his neck, and received a warm round of applause. She was thrilled, it was her first show! (Originally posted October 2006) Post scriptum – the next year, and with this same sweet pony, she made it all the way to the regional finals!

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